The idea of fashioning a game involving playing poker against the house instead of against other players, with the house taking a portion of pots known as the rake, was first put forth by poker expert and author David Sklansky in 1982, with a game he called Casino Poker.
The main idea behind this was to look to simplify the game of poker, at least on its face, in a way that would make it more accessible to players and in particular make it less intimidating.
With standard poker, the expected outcome has a great deal to do with one’s skill, and less skilled players tend to struggle a fair bit, at least until they bring their skill level up. While many prospective poker players are up for this challenge, and are willing to out the time in to master the game enough, a lot of casino players are not.
So casino poker removes the element of strategy from one’s opponent, as one is now playing against the house, and the house does not undertake any strategy at all with casino poker, the hand is just revealed and the outcome becomes decided just on the basis of the strength of the player’s hand versus the house hand.
This fixes the expected outcome within a certain range that casino players find acceptable, comparable to other popular casino games, although as is the case with other casino games, the house does retain this edge over time, unlike standard poker, where one can have a positive expected outcome by playing the game skillfully, where long term outcomes are decided based upon the skill of a player versus the skill level of opponents.
In other words, players aren’t going to beat the game with casino poker, just like they won’t beat the game in the long run with other casino games, as that’s the nature of casino games. So this is an entertainment based game, as all casino games are, it certainly does provide plenty of entertainment, particularly due to a fair bit of strategy involved, not anywhere near as much as standard poker but quite a bit more than typical casino games, where there often is no strategy employed at all.
Caribbean Stud Poker
The most popular form of casino poker these days is called Caribbean Stud Poker, getting its name from first being popularized on the Caribbean island of Aruba. Casino poker was originally criticized by some people as having a little too high of a house edge, although it really wasn’t that much higher, and in cases where this perception exists among players, often the house will look to add a progressive jackpot to even the playing field more and make the game more appealing.
So this is what happened with Caribbean Stud Poker, and in fact it was the first table game to use a live progressive jackpot, and this led to it standing out and becoming so popular.
So in addition to the standard betting, players may also place an extra bet to get a shot at a much bigger score, and given people’s penchant for big wins, and the fact that this game does appeal to more casual players who find such bets enticing, Caribbean Stud Poker became a real hit, and remains so today.
Once the poker craze during the early part of the 21st century hit, Caribbean Stud Poker really took off as well, allowing the average casino player who weren’t willing to spend the time to learn how to get good at standard poker to get in on all the fun.
At land based casinos anyway, Caribbean Stud is even more popular than standard poker, with many casinos offering casino poker but not even offering standard poker tables. Caribbean Stud is also offered at online casinos as well these days.
How To Play Caribbean Stud Poker
The rules of this version of poker are quite simple actually. Players place an ante bet, along with a progressive jackpot bet of $1 as well if they wish. Each player is dealt a hand of 5 cards face down, with the dealer also getting 5 cards, with one face up. Players decide whether they want to fold their hand and forfeit their ante bet, or raise.
If they raise, they remain in the hand, and if the dealer does not have at least AK high, the dealer’s qualifying hand, their ante bet gets paid 1:1 and their raise bet is returned to them, regardless of their hand. If the dealer does have a qualifying hand, and beats the player, both the ante bet and the raise are lost.
If the player wins the hand, the ante bet is paid out 1:1 and the hand is paid out based upon the strength of it, with a pair paying 1:1 on the raise bet, two pair 2:1, and so on, up to 100:1 for a royal flush.
If the player has made a progressive bet, and hit’s a flush or better, they become eligible to collect, with better hands collecting more additional money. Hitting a straight flush collects 10% of the progressive jackpot at the time, and getting a royal flush wins the entire jackpot.
The only decision that players make here, aside from whether to play the jackpot or not, is whether they wish to play on or fold with their hands, but this does add some interesting strategy to the mix and makes the game more interesting and entertaining to a lot of players than just the randomness of many casino games.
Caribbean Stud Poker remains a very popular casino game and a real favorite among many casino players.